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Global South Powers in Transition

A Comparative Analysis of Mexico and South Africa


Edited By Deon Geldenhuys and Humberto González

Employing a novel collaborative transnational methodology, this ground-breaking book presents the first comprehensive and systematic comparison of Mexico and South Africa. Although geographically, historically and diplomatically far apart, Mexico and South Africa are ambitious and influential powers in the Global South and also experience wide-ranging domestic transitions. A binational team of 26 researchers from the two countries, all specialists in their respective disciplines, probe the transitions that Mexico and South Africa are undergoing in areas such as socio-cultural diversity, domestic politics, economic development, labour dynamics, social and territorial inequality, food security, crime and violence, and foreign relations. The detailed country studies allow the authors to identify striking similarities but also profound differences between the two societies. In so doing, the book helps to explain Mexico and South Africa to each other but also to the world at large.

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Foreword by Professor Harlan Koff, University of Luxembourg and President of RISC


The Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC) has fostered dialogue between world regions on the human and environmental impacts of regional integration since 2007. RISC was founded with the aim of assembling scholars from different world regions, who normally would not interact, in order to question social cohesion processes and promote solidarity. In short, the consortium aimed to re-orient debates over regional integration away from institutions and economies and move them towards people and communities. RISC has proudly carried out this mission for twelve years through various initiatives supported by scholars from all over the world.

Mexico and South Africa have been represented in RISC’s activities since the consortium’s beginnings. Many of RISC’s edited volumes included chapters on important themes that affect these countries, which indirectly highlighted numerous similarities between them. In Perspectivas comparativas del liderazgo / Comparative perspectives on leadership (Maganda and Koff 2009), the chapters by Deon Geldenhuys and Maria de Lourdes Dieck Asad and Jacobo Ramirez juxtaposed South Africa and Mexico’s international leadership on themes related to human rights and democratic governance with their respective domestic shortcomings in these fields. Two of RISC’s Stephen P. Koff Prize winners, Felipe Hevia (2011) and Victoria Graham (2015), examined issues related to the quality of democracy in Mexico and South Africa and their impact on social conditions in these countries. Other RISC volumes have analysed salient questions in Mexico and South Africa, such as social cohesion (Moore, 2013), governance, accountability and...

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